To paraphrase Art Linkletter’s comment about children, Researchers say the darndest things! To promote a recent study involving irradiation of food, cats, and neurological damage, the study’s author and promoter has resorted to doublespeak. He claims:
Irradiated food causes neurological damage in cats, but that has no bearing on humans.
In other words: What happens in cats has nothing to do with humans.
Cats can heal from the neurological damage, so humans may be able to heal from neurological damage, too.
In other words: What happens in cats has everything to do with humans.
Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(1), reports that cats were fed irradiated food because it’s known to cause neurological damage, specifically demyelination, resulting in neurological dysfunction, including movement disorders, vision loss and paralysis. Withdrawal of the irradiated food resulted in slow recovery of the protective myelin cover, along with recovery of lost functions.
Study author and promoter, Ian Duncan, said:
We think it is extremely unlikely that [irradiated food] could become a human health problem. We think it is species specific.
That’s magical thinking, based on nothing but a desire for the statement to be true. Nor does Duncan explain why he also believes that the opposite is true, that cats’ ability to heal from such nerve damage may apply to humans.
Demyelination of nerves is a hallmark of multiple sclerosis. This study holds out a big dollop of hope for MS sufferers, since it had previously been assumed that, once gone, the myelin sheath could not be rebuilt and nerve damage is irreversible.
Of course, the researchers are not assuming that humans will spontaneously heal themselves of multiple sclerosis. They are, instead, going to push for more research to find drugs that do for human nerves what cats can do for themselves.
With the logic the researchers use to relate cats and humans, though, one must wonder about the likelihood of anything beneficial coming out of such research.
Well, on second thought, there are a couple of benefits. Just imagine the amount of money that will be funneled to researchers! If they come up with something—no matter how dubious—that they claim will benefit multiple sclerosis sufferers, just think of how much money Big Pharma might rake in—not to mention how much doctors will make by pushing the pills!
Messages that we can take from this nonsense:
Until proven otherwise, it’s likely reasonable to assume that the support for any mainstream medical claim is pseudo science.
Claims that irradiated food is safe are surely untrue. The fact that cats were given irradiated food for the purpose of causing neurological damage clearly demonstrates that researchers are fully aware of the danger associated with it.
When modern medicine says that something is so, don’t assume it’s true. Claims are made using the guise of science, but often have no basis in evidence.
Finally, don’t ever forget that researchers trying to justify and obtain research funding can be subject to magical thinking, including the ability to spew two contradictory and mutually exclusive ideas at one go:
What happens in cats has nothing to do with humans.
What happens in cats has everything to do with humans.
How can we possibly trust the results of researchers who can spout such nonsense?